THE GUARDIAN |Sumptuous collection…glowing choral sound

christophorus_hiddenmusicmoscowpatriarchalchoir_christ-the-saviour-cathedral

 

Hidden Music of the Russian Church CD review — glowing, fragrant choral sound

Герои двух эпох | «Роскошный сборник… это хоровой звук, который просто светится… »

 

“Sacred Chants after the Revolution 1917” (Герои двух эпох) is the subtitle of this sumptuous collection, and the notes describe the “acts of heroism” that the five composers went through to keep Russia’s mighty choral tradition alive in Soviet times while churches were being razed and clergymen murdered. Just how “hidden” these composers were is intriguing: Alexander Nikolsky was made responsible for “proletarian culture” after the revolution and Alexander Alexandrov was such a personal favourite of Stalin that the dictator would call up in the middle of the night requesting choirs to sing his favourite tunes. Also featured on the disc are hymns by Golovanov, Chesnokov and Kastalsky, all of whose music is miles off anything challenging enough to be denounced by the regime as “muddle instead of music” (as Shostakovich’s was). Instead, the harmonic language is rousing, fragrant pre-revolution romanticism, and the Moscow Cathedral’s choir under Ilya Tolkachev sings it better than anyone: deep-purring basses, intense-vibrato tenors, ecstatic sopranos, and a rich vibrancy to the whole ensemble. This is a choral sound that just glows.

 

Hidden Music of the Russian Church. Sacred Chants after the Revolution 1917 | Герои двух эпох                                                                           Moscow Patriarch Choir of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Ilya Tolkachev

Catalogue No: Christophorus CHR77402

 

Source: The Guardian | «Hidden Music of the Russian Church» CD review by Kate Molleson of July 14th, 2016

© РПЦ Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow | Photo by Vladimir Orlov

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